Looking for that perfect sound for Xmas?
Here are 5 of our favorite holiday royalty-free tracks that will get you in the Christmas spirit, and add some jingle to your current project!
Looking for that perfect sound for Xmas?
Here are 5 of our favorite holiday royalty-free tracks that will get you in the Christmas spirit, and add some jingle to your current project!
“The rug really tied the room together.”
Bob Dylan fades out and we hear The Dude talk about the importance of a stolen rug. It tied things together. The same could be said for the songs in The Big Lebowski. Any fan of the film knows how important those tracks are, featured even more prominently than the score. Like the rug in Lebowski’s living room, the right music can tie a film or video project together, making a grander sense out of separate elements.
Whether you’re creating an advertisement, a TV show, or web short, your video project benefits from the addition of smartly placed music to synchronize (“sync”) with the moving images. A properly selected song not only lends an air of professionalism to a video, but also makes your production more memorable. In extreme cases, a well-placed piece of music can even add emotional weight to a project that wouldn’t have hit as hard without it.
And we don’t have to point to cult classics like The Big Lebowski. Think of a particularly impactful TV commercial or scene from a favorite childhood show. Chances are you remember the song playing as much as the images on the screen. That’s because – as humans have known for thousands of years (but have only recently began studying) – music is inextricably tied to our emotions and memories. Even a simple audio cue (think of the soft piano notes plunked during the heartfelt scenes in every ‘90s ABC sitcom) triggers a specific emotional response.
Those shows you’re remembering were probably huge network projects with budgets in the millions. Even today, ads you see on Hulu, YouTube or cable TV (remember cable?) can have big budgets too. What if you’re an indie producer with a project budget in the thousands or even hundreds? How do you add emotional heft and memorability to your work without plummeting into the red or using music unlawfully? AudioMicro’s got you.
The first concern when licensing music for placement is fully clearing the song you’re interested in. This may sound like common sense, but it’s good to get the fundamentals out of the way first.
If a music supervisor wants to use a popular major label song in a TV show, they might have to wait for the label to talk to the publishers and for six different songwriters to talk to the label to talk to the publishers to talk to the…
You get it. Acquiring sync permission can be an inefficient process.
Since AudioMicro uses royalty-free music specifically created to be synced, nothing licensed through AudioMicro requires any further clearance. No tracking down every party involved in the recording and composition just to clear 30 seconds of sound. It’s a one-stop-shop for fully cleared music, so you can use it in your YouTube video without fear they’ll pull it for copyright reasons. The copyright is already secured!
Royalty free music isn’t just great for the user, but also the creator. Some people think that “royalty free” means “free from revenue for the artist.” Not so. But what actually is “royalty free”? It means you pay only once to clear a track, and once you’ve paid you can use it as much as you like in accordance with the uses of the standard license.
This doesn’t generate royalties on the back-end per use, but it does generate revenue upfront from the fee you pay to use the song. That fee then gets paid to the creator of the music after AudioMicro takes their cut, which is significantly lower than other licensing companies. You get to license a song for a reasonable price, and the artist makes more money. It’s creators and users supporting each other; a beautiful thing! AudioMicro also allows PRO-affiliated songwriters, which means you’re licensing music created by serious, professional songwriters and not hobbyists looking to get a few placements as a side gig.
So which creators take part in this mutually beneficial endeavor? Hundreds! Peruse the genres in this catalog of royalty free music. Need some reggae for a chill travel commercial? How about some heavy gosh-dang metal for a fight scene? Or maybe you’re a social media fitness influencer and need some good workout jams. The extent of the catalog means you’re sure to find something that’ll set your project apart from the competition.
In the old days of music licensing, there were enough roadblocks in securing a song placement to discourage even the heartiest music supervisor. The Coen Brothers must’ve had their work cut out for them clearing all the songs in Lebowski.
Many of those hurdles are still there for big-budget projects licensing recordings and compositions that have upwards of 10 copyright owners, but AudioMicro helps you overcome obstacles by combining the entire music licensing process into one simple step.
Once you find the song you want to tie your project together, all the licensing is done at once. This is the 21st Century. Shouldn’t things be easier than they were before?
Greg Majewski has written about heavy tunes for Invisible Oranges, Metal Bandcamp and his own blog, Luminous Deluge. When not writing he can be found at the gym or scouring forums and blogs for obscure ‘90s death metal. He lives in Portland, Oregon with his fiancée and hundreds of plants.
Brett Heatley of HeatleyBros Music
Brett Heatley is a team member of AudioMicro, and the creator of a unique genre of “GamePop” music. He runs the HeatleyBros YouTube Channel where he promotes his music for ‘free use with credit’ on YouTube, and provides links to purchase the licenses for his music on AudioMicro.com for use outside of YouTube.
Read his story on discovering his unique sound, turning his music and YouTube channel into a brand, and tips you can apply to your own story.
THE GENESIS – INFLUENCES OF MY SOUND
Being the younger sibling in the ’90s didn’t afford me too many options when it came to the music I listened to. My older sister kept the radio on RnB and pop, and I would watch on as my older brother played through single-player game after single-player game. I loved my older siblings, and respected and appreciated them. In turn, I fell in love with RnB (Boyz II Men for life) and watching my brother traverse through games like Sonic, Mario, and the Final Fantasy I had ample time to soak in the simple-sounding yet creative soundtracks. Between these two seemingly unrelated genres of music, a seed was planted in my brain that would eventually determine the unique type of music I would later create.
No matter how much older I got, and how many music options the world eventually offered, my love for the music I grew up listening to persisted. RnB advanced and changed, and Video Games left the simple synths for 100-piece orchestras focused more on mood rather than melody. While I did find new games and artists that carried some of the spirit of the 90’s music I cherished, I still felt there was a sort of musical itch I was no longer able to scratch.
The need to scratch was eventually offset to a degree as I learned how to play the guitar and the piano. I learned songs on the radio and eventually wrote a few of my own. It was fun, but those instruments and songs could never satisfy the array of musical sounds I wanted to hear. I put down those instruments and allowed for life and its responsibilities to take up most of my time.
Years later, I found myself as a senior in college, nervously eating lunch at my apartment, terrified of the fact that I still had no idea what I would do with my marketing degree. My roommate came in and left his new MacBook open on the kitchen table. I was not too familiar with MacBooks and noticed that a program in the corner of the screen had a guitar logo. I ran the mouse over the program and asked my roommate “what’s this ‘Garageband’ program do?”. He began to explain what it was My ears and brain perked up. “You mean to tell me that in that program, I can write out an entire song, bass, drums, chords, melody, and everything, and turn that into an mp3 that I can listen to on your stereo system?”. He confirmed and asked me if I wanted to give it try. I nodded and took the laptop into my room.
I remember him knocking on the door the next morning, wondering if I still had his MacBook with me as he couldn’t find it in his room. I responded by pressing play on the MacBook, and out of the little speakers came an entire 3:30 minute RnB song, complete with drums, bass, chords, lyrics, melody, stacked harmonies, and retro game synths. He was as amazed as I was, neither of us knew I had it in me. I was instantly hooked, and the fears of graduating without a plan were vanquished, forever. I wanted to make my own type of music and find work in the music business.
After I graduated from Florida State, I talked to my sister who lived in LA, told her I wanted to move out there and get into music. She was so excited she flew out to meet me and drove cross-country with me – she’s a great sister. I soon got settled in LA and started hitting up craigslist for any indie record labels that I could intern at. A small record label called ‘Accidental Airplay’ reached out and wanted to interview me. We met and gelled really well. I worked for them on many projects over the course of a few years. I remember having a conversation with them about wanting to make video game pop music inspired by the games of my childhood, they told me to go for it, so with that little push of support, I decided to start HeatleyBros, in 2014.
Over the years, I’ve had tracks used by a lot of big YouTubers which has really helped bring attention to my music, and seems to continually open up bigger and bigger opportunities.
For example, A Minecraft YouTuber known as AphMau who has close to 5 million subscribers found my song on AudioMicro.com and made it part of her theme song outro and used it for years for a particular series, which got a lot of traction and I received a lot of fandom around that. I learned that it was used there through the comments section of my YouTube channel, and had I not had a YouTube channel, I wouldn’t have known and it wouldn’t have helped me bring a bunch of attention to my channel, because people started acknowledging my music there.
I sell licenses to use my music on AudioMicro.com, a Production Music Library and I also monetize on my YouTube channel, one, through ads when people listen to my music or come to hear my new song that they could possibly license and use, and two, through monetization when people don’t license accordingly.
I use a third-party aggregator called AdRev.net for monetizing unlicensed use of my tracks. The more available and accessible Your music is online, the more likely it will be used without authorization. Therefore, in regards to generating revenue on YouTube, the more places your video is placed, the more you can make money on unlicensed use.
I sell licenses to use my music on AudioMicro.com, a Production Music Library and I also monetize on my YouTube channel. This happens two ways: through ads when people listen to my music or come to hear my new song that they could possibly license and use, and through monetization when people don’t license accordingly.
I use a third-party aggregator called AdRev.net for monetizing unlicensed use of my tracks. The more available and accessible your music is online, the more likely it will be used without authorization. Therefore, in regard to generating revenue on YouTube, the more places your video is placed, the more you can make money on unlicensed use.
MY TIPS FOR MUSIC CREATORS & YOUTUBERS
Tips I would give to music creators starting out and wanting to utilize YouTube to promote and monetize their music are:
1.CREATE A BRAND & PERSONALITY
Start a YouTube channel and then create a brand around the music you make.
2. GET YOUR MUSIC HEARD
You need to be able to get it on iTunes, Spotify, Google Play, Pandora and all the rest so, make sure you have a diYou want to get your music heard, first and foremost, then people can find where they can license it. Make it available on every access point possible. You need to be able to get it on iTunes, Spotify, Google Play, Pandora and all the rest, so make sure you have a distributor that can do this, like CDBaby.com or DashGo.com.
3. UTILIZE SOCIAL MEDIA
Be on every social media instance possible. Utilize Instagram, Soundcloud, TikTok, and YouTube! Then, connect with people as much as possible. Share your music and your story to get people engaged. For example, I recently did a series of live stream Q & A sessions for a few weekends in a row, to connect with some of the people that follow me. There were about 100 people listening in each time, and some of them ended up donating to my channel. This was a great way to interface with some followers and fans.
4. CREATE UNIQUE MUSIC
Don’t overuse audio loops in your music creation. One, it’s not unique, and two, loops can get flagged by Content ID systems and create a headache that you don’t need.
5. KEEP CREATING & IMPROVING
Keep evolving! Keep trying to get better, keep moving forward. You may hang your hat on one of the songs you made, but rather than trying to recreate something like it, try to create something better than that- something that speaks more closely to who you are, what you love and why you make music to begin with. As an artist, keep evolving and improving. Learn and grow, and you’ll constantly be your own competition. That way, you’ll keep raising the bar and exploring and refining your sound.
Thanks for reading! I wish you all the best in your creative endeavors!
~ Brett Heatley
3 Tips To Make Your Life Easier
Any seasoned editor will tell you that finding music for a client is the bane of their existence. They will also tell you it’s the most time spent with the least amount of pay off. Hearing things like, “I don’t totally hate it,” or “well it’s not totally terrible” or my personal favorite, “love the cut, hate the music” regarding a cut you show a client that was supposed to be ‘final’ draft, will induce responses that are unbecoming of the totally ‘sane’ people we editors are. I say ‘sane’ lightheartedly as we all know you have to be a little crazy to enjoy sitting in Premiere sifting through your client’s content, trying to piece together a puzzle that would make Walter Murch proud.
Through years of experience, I’ve come up with three easy steps to steer you in the right direction for when you put on your newly delegated ‘producer’ hat and have to scrape the Internet for the perfect track or sound effects that will help you sell your edit.
#1: Know Your Client
This may not always be easy, especially with a new client, but knowing their taste in music is super helpful! This goes far beyond that though and reaches deeper than knowing their genre of choice. I don’t have to tell you that music and the psychology of sound are way deeper than the music itself. Knowing things like the client’s age and upbringing, types of film they enjoy, and what their favorite color is, etc. will help you to determine their musical taste. Now obviously you won’t always get a chance to do extensive research on your client, nor will you always get to hand them a questionnaire that will answer some of these things. But as anyone who has read this far will know, nowadays we are more than likely the videographers shooting, as well as the editors, and we tend to wear multiple hats throughout production. I often tell my clients that I’d like to be on set during the shoot days if I’m not the one shooting, just so I can better understand them and their vibe. Simple things like letting them choose the music on set, or discussing favorite films, colors and clothing/fashion can all be super useful pieces of information that can be gleaned simply by you being there on set interacting with them.
#2: Know your Footage/Content
This one should be obvious as an editor, but I’d be lying to you if I told you every edit I do, I sift through all the footage and watch ALL of it. We of course scrub through a majority of it, but in today’s fast-paced environment of Post production, where they wanted it yesterday, it’s hard to view it all. There are a few key things to check for that can really help you understand the intention/direction of the edit and thus start you in the right direction for your music search.
The first and obviously most telling thing, is frame rate. I shoot and edit a variety of content from underwater, to fashion, to narrative, and one thing that’s always changing is the frame rate. For the majority of my fashion clients, I shoot in slow motion for a couple of reasons, one to help smooth out less than ideal camera work when clients don’t want to pay for a Free Fly Systems movi pro gimbal and/or ready rig vest for stabilization, and two because life is just more sexy in slow motion. (If it wasn’t, the infamous Baywatch running scene wouldn’t have been a thing.) Based off of that info alone, I know a slower song is in order to match the mood and vibe of the slow-motion footage.
Another key piece of information to look for in footage is color. How did the DP light the scene? Did he have a lot of color contrast? Is it heavily gelled, or are the color palettes neutral? This is hard to assess if you’re looking at log or raw footage but hopefully your DP was nice to you and shot proxies with a look baked in so you can get a sense of what he was going for. Better yet, maybe he was nice enough to give you the LUT he was using to monitor color on set. By looking at the color, you can begin to get a feel for the mood of the piece, which again, gets you started in the right direction for your musical hunt.
#3: Know your Audience/Target Market
Now this one can be difficult because with the ‘budget squeezing’ we’ve been seeing in our industry, more and more clients are creating less content and pitching it to all the markets, hoping it will land with a few of them. But if the client has a target market in mind for the content, this can be extremely helpful. For example, one of the brands I work for is a rental-based fashion brand. Their customers can rent ‘looks’ for the month and can either return them or can purchase and keep their look permanently. This knowledge helps me understand their target market a bit better and since it’s fashion client, I know the content is going to be seasonal and trend driven.
That’s an example for one type of client and content creation, while another example is my underwater shooting. This tends to be slow motion and depending on where I’m diving, determines the water color, either green or blue, which addresses step one and two, but leaves it open ended on step three the ‘target audience’. For most of my underwater personal work (i.e. not for TV or commercials) I have a theme of conservation, therefore I can better determine my target audience. With conservation you want to reach a broad audience. You want the older generations to see and hear your message but really, I think it’s more important for the younger generations to see and hear the message. They are the future, will be coming into voting power, and will be the ones most affected by climate change. Therefore, my target audience, although broad, will lean towards a younger market.
These tips are the first three areas I consider before I begin my music search, and honestly, it helps me cut my time in half. An added benefit is it also allows me to find songs for later projects as I’m browsing for the current project, since I’ve come to learn my repeat client’s aesthetics, style, and target audience. I’ll have days where I’m browsing through AudioMicro.com and I’ll hear a song that may not be right for my fashion client, but would be perfect for that sustainable fish sourcing project I’m working on, so I’ll download it and save it for later.
Hopefully, these tips help you navigate your way through the bumpy seas of finding royalty free music for your client video projects. Thanks for reading.
Ryan Waller is a true nomadic soul, at heart. Finding his grounding in the world of film and motion production, Ryan has been working passionately as a colorist and editor in Los Angeles, California. Ryan’s first love though is and always has been the sea. When he isn’t working on land as a filmmaker and artist, Ryan is leading expeditions on the water teaching people the values of sustainable fishing and proper ecological practices. His merging of art and water has helped him become one of the predominant water based motion picture artists in Los Angeles.
Production music libraries have become the go-to music tool for many producers and music teams looking for the right music to match their picture. A great deal of production music work used to be custom work for hire, but that’s changing as projects face ever tighter timelines and budgets–and as more and more people and organizations are creating video and seeking out licensed music for it.
I’ve been working as a composer for much longer, but ten years ago, I started uploading cues to libraries like Audiomicro, which has become one of my favorites. It started out as a way to fill my time, to keep writing for fun between scoring gigs. Revenue from libraries now makes up 60% of my yearly revenue. I keep writing and it keep growing and to keep building my rep. Like many dedicated production composers, I write all the time, as much as I can.
Search is key to making the most of these platforms, and that means you need to understand how to communicate what your cue’s all about in a few short words, tags, and other features. A little thought and common sense can go a long way to getting your cues found and kept by producers.
Production music is a numbers game. Full stop. You have to produce a lot of music. It is a biz for people who write well and efficiently without a lot of torment. You can’t spend three days on two minutes of music. Do that for your own compositions, but not for production library use. These catalogs are growing every day. You can’t write 20 pieces of music, submit it to Audiomicro, and then complain about your lack of revenue. You need to produce.
I think my experience in working with real producers and doing custom music has permeated my sense of how to describe things. If I’m writing a few sentences, I try to think about what my friends in video or film might be looking for. How can I give them a sense of what this is? No need for long description, no need to implant metadata. I want my reader to understand what to expect. Match the mood of the music.
Is it moderately paced or driving? Is it quirky or contemplative? Take up the space with the word. That list will be the descriptors that make someone go, “Yep, that’s what it is, thank you!” Then if you’re allowed, use reasonable synonyms to improve your chances of discovery. For example, optimistic and positive mean the same thing in tags. Don’t know exactly what people are looking for.
Titles are metadata, hints to what the piece is about. It needs to really sound like that title. It’s a mistake to give something an abstract or very specific or personal title. It may be important to you, but it won’t mean much to a producer.
When I start writing, I start with the title. If someone is browsing via genre, like say, folk or pop, my titles need to convey something. If they see “Warm Spring Morning,” and it sounds like a cold autumn night, they won’t listen to anything else you’ve put out there. But if it sounds like its title, you develop trust.
Often, I’ll come up with 10-15 titles before I write a note. I want to come up with the pictures and images, words the evoke a feeling or sound to me. I jot them down. I can write to that title. The music and title need to have a real connection.
Hear me out. It’s easy to get caught up in data and dropdowns, but sometimes you need to take a few moments away from the screen to sit and listen. Jot down a few adjectives or genres or other words that come to mind as you do. You’ll have a clearer, more honest reaction to your work, and you’ll save yourself the trouble when you need to add tags to your cues when you upload them to a library.
A cue with a ton of tags looks suspect. If you have dozens of different mood tags, you’re likely seeing diminishing returns. You’re likely stretching. You may win a battle by getting in search results, but you’ll lose the war.
Producers with limited time want tags to let them zero in on their options as quickly as possible. When they see the word “pretty” and the cue is not really “pretty”, they are going to get frustrated. If you’re overloading pieces with every possible tag, you’re out of bounds. That will make producers not want to go back.
One client I worked for always wanted three versions of cues: 60 seconds, 30 seconds, and “a thing.” (Don’t ask.) I’ve kept to that approach, as it helps with the numbers game. You’re submitting three pieces instead of one. You can legitimately fill up more data space and get bigger hits.
It also helps clients who have a wide range of needs. Lots of clients don’t want to do a lot of editing so 60- and 30-second cues are helpful.
That said, don’t take shortcuts. You have to do a good edit. Don’t fade out, anyone can do that. When you’re writing and you’re in your DAW, if you have a sequencer say, when you finish the full piece, make nice smaller pieces. Cut and paste and snip. Then add the final ending you imagine for the piece. Producers don’t want to hear a chop; they want to hear the last four seconds that would be the same as the end of the full track.
There is no perfect or right way to make music, of course, and there’s no single answer to how to get that music to come up in an interested producer’s search. However, if you take a few extra moments to think through your tags, titles, and cue lengths, you’ll expand your repertoire and make its essence instantly recognizable, building trust and radically improving your chances at a placement.Bruce Zimmerman
Bruce Zimmerman is the composer and owner of Sound Productions, a film scoring project studio located in Windsor, Connecticut. Zimmerman began his career over 20 years ago, after attaining a Doctorate of Music from the Hartt School of Music in West Hartford, Connecticut.
Zimmerman has scored over 500 programs for clients such as AT&T, IBM, PBS, History Channel, Connecticut Public Television, FOX Network, The Learning Channel, MasterCard, Pratt and Whitney, Random House, Sony Kids Music, Simon & Schuster, McGraw Hill and Warner Brothers. Zimmerman has won three Emmy Awards for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Original Music Composition for his work in Public Television. He is a member of ASCAP and the International Documentary Association (IDA).
There is one thing that all famous YouTubers have in common whether it be vlogging, tech reviewing, sketch comedy, cooking or just about any other genre or sub genre on YouTube that has found mass audience appeal – a sound brand. In this entry, let’s take a closer look at the Top 3 YouTubers whose sound branding absolutely is on point.
But first, what is a sound brand? Well take a moment and think of your all time favorite YouTuber and ask yourself “Do they have an intro and outro with a notable music loops or sound effects?” “Do they have background music or regular sound effects that you have come to recognize to be synonymous with the show?” Those are all prime examples of a sound brand. Sounds, effects, and music loops all easily obtained from websites such as AudioMicro.com but utilized and regularly fed back to the audience in a way that the sound or loop itself becomes iconically entwined with the show. The overall ability that even if you just heard the music and sounds commonly used in your favorite YouTube series without seeing any visuals that you would immediately be able to identify the show is evidence of successful sound branding and what helps make the biggest youtube channels.
#3 Casey Neistat – 10 million subscribers
The man who invented the vlog – Casey Neistat. Easily one of the most popular youtubers on the platform these days. He understood early on the importance of creating a prominent sound brand within his vlogs and he quickly incorporated his skateboard grunge esthetic into everything he possibly could; especially so in regards to sound. Each vlog will kick off with his intro and original track followed by a series of background grunge loops and tracks he’s curated and compiled over the years and will use when he needs to subtley convey different emotions he is trying to evoke in sections of his vlog. The background music content he uses has become so popular as his sound brand that you can even search on YouTube playlist mixes of Casey’s Neistat that they too has millions of listens. Without his sound branding Casey Neistat’s vlogs would lack the emotional punch and drive they so inherently carry. Check out some of his vlogs and see how skillfully sound branding can enhance your project.
#2 Game Theory – 11 million subscribers
Video games are always – ALWAYS – all the rage, and YouTube is no exception. Close on the heels of live Twitch streams comes a dedicated bunch of gamers on the YouTube platform with incredibly sizable fan bases. One particular YouTube gamer, Mat Pat at Game Theory, has found a niche of researching a games lore and developing new and sometimes unexpected theories about the games we all hold near and dear. From his branded musical intro followed by him toting off his notable slogan “Hey Guys! Welcome to Game Theory” altogether creates an incredibly recognizable and powerful sound brand. It’s this one-two punch of branding that I find so effective that I’ve even caught myself humming along to the intro and matching Mat’s slogan as a new episode comes on.
#1 Good Mythical Morning – 14 million subscribers
The singing and variety series comedic duo, Rhett and Link, who host Good Mythical Morning have been mainstream YouTubers since the very beginning of the platform. Early on in their career they realized the importance of creating a premium sound brand. Nowadays their primary show is a daily variety comedy series called Good Mythical Morning. Each episode may cover a new subject and content but in each episode their is a clear and recognizable opening and closing bumper along with notable transition sounds and background music. They recently just started their 15th season (Wow!) and following their trend the only thing that changes between seasons is their intro and outro sound branding which I find to be a refreshing way to audibly cue the listeners into feeling the show has a new layer of renewed energy even after so many seasons.
There you have it! You know realize the best YouTubers are in part the ones who know how to create a memorable and lasting sound brands for their fan base. Now you know it’s not just what you show the audience, but it’s also how you sound to the audience that can a leave a lasting impression that goes far beyond after the video is over. If you’re in the market to develop your very own sound brand and don’t quite know where to start may I humbly suggest checking out AudioMicro.com for all your sounds, effects, and music loops needs to get up and running quickly and sounding amazing!
What do you think? Are these the freshest sound brands on Youtube at the moment? Do you know someone with a better sound brand or think we missed one? We’re always down to check out new and amazing talent on YouTube. Let us know in the comments below!
T H E A R T O F F O L E Y –
An Inside Look at Sound Effects in Film
Sound Effects are a driving force behind every film that can steer the audience’s emotions and expectations. An image of a door could be shown but the audience would know the emotional tone whether they heard the sounds of wine glasses clinking with plates and silverware milling about , or alternatively bone cracking and chainsaws revving. In one instance the audience is invited into a feast and the other they want to run in horror. The senses follow the sounds. Creating high quality sounds to use in one’s films is an undertaking and an art form in itself. In one instance there is a vast array of high quality sounds already available to you at AudioMicro.com, but sometimes you just want that personal touch and feel the drive to create your own sound effects. In this post we will be taking a look at what exactly goes into making a custom high quality sound effect and a brief history of how it all came to be.
One of the great unsung heroes of any movie is easily the Foley Artist. These artists are the ones who create all the sound effects you hear throughout the film by using everyday objects in unexpected ways to generate unique sounds. Think banging a couple of coconut shells together to create the sound of a horse galloping like in Monty Python’s Holy Grail; that is a prime example of foley sound.
While on location of a film, modern day audio equipment is optimized for picking up the actors voice while cancelling out all the surrounding and background sounds that would breath life into the scene. This could be something subtle like the actor’s footsteps, opening a door, or even just scratching his own face, to the more in your face fighting scenes, scuffling, clashing swords, etc. It is these artists’ job to find out how to recreate any sound imaginable for any given scene and convince the audience it’s the real thing. Some examples of this would be something like stepping on VHS tape to create the sound of walking through autumn leaves. You can then pick up the same VHS tape and shake it to give the sense of bushes rustling in the wind. Another example would be stepping on a bag full of corn starch to create that sound of fresh snow crunching and compressing as its walked on. Even snapping or twisting a bunch of celery can sound like bones cracking or breaking. At the end of the day if the foley artist did his job right you will never know he did anything at all.
Before this method of foley sound became mainstream in film it was common practice for the time to have sound effects added into broadcasted radio plays to help paint a richer picture of what is happening for the audience. This is what helped pave the way for post sound effects to emerge into film.
The term Foley Artists comes from its creator, Jack Donovan Foley, who as a Universal employee developed the method of performing sound effects in sync with the film’s moving picture in post production back in the early mid 1900s. Jack and his team would have the movie projected in front of them and perform all the post sounds needed in one go and record it on one single track. Nowadays with the invention of computers and development of Non Linear Editing there are infinite amounts of tracks sounds can be recorded, retimed, and adjusted on that simply did not exist back then. At the time this method of creating post sound was called ‘Direct to Picture,’ and it wasn’t until years later that it became known as foley.
Today the common set up for post sound is 2 foley artists and 1 sound mixer on the mixing stage. The two artists will work in tandem to create the sound and will work from visual markers and cues projected on the film supplied by the mixer to help them match timing. However, these days it’s less critical if an artist misses the timing as this can be adjusted by the mixer, but making sure the feel of the sound matches perfectly is more of what’s necessary. These specialized mixing stages the foley artists work on will commonly have special sectioned floors with various textures and materials to step on to create various sounds. Along with having an ever expanding warehouse full of props and everyday items they have catalogued and can use at any given moment.
In the instance that you might need to add some foley sound to one of your own projects you can always go simple and experiment with a basic audio mic recording various sounds like footsteps, slamming doors, breaking celery and then test it out by cutting and remixing the sound back into your edit.
If you need something more robust and professional sounding, or you simply don’t quite know how to get that exact perfect sound effect you’re looking for – audiomicro.com has you covered! Just head to the website, select sound effects, and search for anything you need! There are literally 1000s of professional high quality sound effects to choose from that you can remix and cut back into your projects with confidence.
T H E S O U N D S O F H O R R O R –
The History of Horror Sounds & Techniques in Film.
Whether it be creaking floor boards in a dark deserted hallway, the ominous sounds of unsettling whispers, or the aggressive revving of an old rusty chainsaw; some sounds are synonymous with horror. It is this genre that utilizes sound design the most, and relies so heavily on what the audience hears – or in some circumstances, doesn’t hear. Understanding what types of sounds and in what combination can most effectively unsettle and sink deep into your audience’s psyche will help any creator develop a more memorable horror film, television show, or web series.
‘THE LEWTON BUS’
In fact, the notable horror cliche of the “quiet… quiet… BANG!” method is derived from the technique known as the ‘Lewton Bus.’ Producer Val Lewton famously developed the technique back in 1942’s Cat People, of lulling the audience into a false sense of security as the scared protagonist proceeds in silence for a moment of time only to be jolted by the sounds of something rather innocent.
Even though aspects of this technique have evolved with time, you can see the ‘Lewton Bus’ method now used in nearly every horror film to date and is a valuable tool for any creator to utilize in their own horror masterpieces.
Also known as the ‘ocean harp,” is an odd looking percussive instrument that creates all those eerie and ethereal sounds used in countless horror films including Poltergeist, Aliens, Let the Right One In, and even non horror films alike. The sounds itself is tough to describe so give it a listen and you will instantly recognize it’s spine tingling qualities.
Unless you’re a lumberjack, for most of us the guttural revving of a chainsaw invokes thoughts of dread and dismemberment. This in part started back in 1974 with the Texas Chainsaw massacre and has been since remade, mimicked, and turned into several homages. The chainsaw sound is just so loud and violent that it cannot help but invoke a sense of chaos and confusion as the deafening sound itself grabs the viewers complete attention, puts them on edge, and does not let go.
Whether it be Freddy Krueger’s claws opening, Jason’s machete scraping against the wall as he meanders towards his victim, or Sweeney Todd sharpening his straight razors before he begins a shave to close for comfort. The sound of metal scraping inherently flags as a warning sign to the audience. You may not even see the object itself but hearing the sound tells you something bad is going to happen. We commonly identify metal scraping as a knife, blade, or weapon of some sort and hearing the sound triggers something basic in us screaming DANGER!
A SCORE THAT WILL DRIVE YOU MAD
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy! Jack’s slow descent into madness throughout 1980s The Shining has a intensely unsettling musical score to match. Letting the music indicate the tone and mood of your piece is paramount and is just as an important character as even your protagonist that needs to have its own arch and development. Using The Shining as our example Jack at the start of the film is an aspiring writer who took an off season caretaker job with his family; The music meanders along at a lulling pace. By the end of the film he’s chasing his own kid through a hedge maze with an axe and the music is just pure chaos!
What do you think?
We’ve only begun to scratch the surface on all the horror sounds that make your skin crawl. Let us know your favorite and most iconic horror sounds in the comments below! And if you are looking to spice up your horror piece with some memorable sounds – whether it be eerie atmospheres, screams, shocks, creaking, cracking, breaking, or just good old fashioned gore – then be sure to check out AudioMicro.com for all your horror sound needs!
We’re always here to support you in your creative endeavors!
At AudioMicro, we’ve got a commitment to the high quality of music we provide, and our A&R Manager is at the heart of this mission. Meet the man, behind the man, behind the man, Joshua Priest.
– Thanks, Josh, for interviewing with me today. So you are the resident music expert and A&R manager for AudioMicro! How long have you been working with the company?
Answer: I’ve been with the company for four years, and I’ve been managing A&R and the ingest contracts for artists for the past two years.
– Very nice. What’s your background with music?
Answer: Well, I’ve been playing guitar for 14 years. And I’ve always been into music ever since I was a kid. I mean, basically, music has just been a big part of the journey in my life. Because, you know, when you play an instrument, you’re forever learning and struggling with things that you don’t know. Your music within itself is a language, so you’re always kind of learning, every single day. And it’s great. I deal with other people’s music every day as well. I get to kind of get a snapshot of their musical journey as well.
– So it’s almost like music is a teacher in a way. And what’s your background before working in the music industry for AudioMicro?
Answer: I used to work in TV, for G4 TV, which is now defunct, unfortunately, and I also worked for a year with NBC. I started off as a production assistant for about a year and half, then became a producer myself.
– Ok, so you have a background in music and in producing. With that experience under your belt, what are some top things that you’re looking for as far as the quality of the tracks that you’re ingesting for AudioMicro’s library?
Answer: Well I definitely want to listen to how things are mixed. We want to provide top-quality music so mixing is very important.I also want to listen to how the melodies fit into the genre that they’re trying to achieve.
Then I also like to listen to the quality of their plugins. Say with a song that has flute, you can basically tell when they have a really good plugin because you can’t tell the difference between a real flute and a really good plugin of the flute.
Sometimes I hear a film score, and I can’t tell if the artist recorded an orchestra or just on his computer doing this? Either way, it doesn’t matter because it sounds amazing.
I can hear their level of professionalism and effort within the first 30 seconds.
And then there’s timing. Sometimes people will upload tracks, and you can just hear that the drums are off, or the rhythm guitar is going at a certain beat per minute. But then, the lead guitar is playing way too quick, or way too slow compared to it. And you can tell that it’s not something that they’re actually trying to achieve.
And, one more thing I’d like to add. When you listen to someone’s music, if you can close your eyes, and you can see the song that they’re making being used in some sort of production, like I can see this being in a movie, or I can see this being the background of a blog on YouTube or something like that, then you know that you’ve got something good.
– So the way that it’s mixed, the melody fitting the genre, the quality of the sounds and plugins, and the timing, those are some of the things that you look for when you’re rating. And, because of your background and TV and music, you need to imagine where it could be used, and it may need to evoke some emotion in you?
Answer: Yeah. Actually, I won’t lie. There’ve been a few times I’ve uploaded contracts to AudioMicro and I was going through a new artist’s music that were just very sad songs. And I felt a very strong reaction, my heartstrings were getting pulled, and I was like, “Oh, I better stop listening to this. I don’t want to start crying at my desk!”
Some of these artists they are really good at what they do. And if I can listen to music and feel emotional, that’s a winner right there.
– I think a lot of video production is telling a story; and that could be a happy story or a sad story, or many times to inspire, right? Especially motivational videos on YouTube, they’re definitely telling a story, but also evoking some positive, motivational, or inspirational feelings, right?
Answer: You’re absolutely right, because when it comes down to it at the end of the day, if you have a video with audio, the audio is 50% of your video’s impact. If you have a video with audio that doesn’t match what you’re watching, it takes you out of the experience- 100%. But if you have audio that matches what you’re watching, it can make the impact of the video 100 times better.
– It’s almost as if the measure of a well produced movie or video is that when you’re so involved in the story, that you don’t even notice the music, because it just corresponds so well, it all goes together.
Answer: Yeah, that’s what we hope for at AudioMicro. Content creators for YouTube, production film houses, or for people that do podcasts. We’re here to help provide music to compliment your visual aspect to make your production the best it can be. To Complement and Enhance your project.
– Do you ever get requests to help people find music or suggest music for their production?
Answer: Yes, I’m always more than happy to help our customers if they need assistance. They can just write in to us with info like, “Hey, we’re doing like a little podcast about history and science, that we kind of want something that’s mellow acoustic.” I’ll point them in the right direction or put together 5 or 10 tracks of things that I think they might like.
– It’s great to know you all are there to help! So, what’s something about AudioMicro that people probably don’t know.
Answer: It’s a really great working environment at AudioMicro – We all have each other’s backs. We’re all very chill & casual with each other- I could go talk to my supervisor or CEO and could talk about work or I could talk about something personal. When you have a work environment where everyone meshes together so well, the productivity and the company morale becomes so high that it feels like the sky’s the limit.
We also have a room that is dedicated to chilling and taking a break. We have an acoustic bass, a piano, bean bags and couches, and a PlayStation 4 for people want to play video games. Throughout all hours of the day, you can hear someone in there either banging on the piano, plucking on a guitar, or playing a video game.
I think that is the best way to blow off some steam and clear your head, like if you’re working on something and you kind of hit a brick wall. You can go in there for 10 or 15 minutes, noodle around on the guitar to get some creative juices flowing, and then before you know it, you might be in the middle of playing a song and you go, “Oh, I got it!” And go back to what you were working on.
– That’s perfect, because they say human beings can only focus efficiently for so long, and then they actually need to take a break and shift into something else. So last question Joshua, what kind of music are you into right now?
Answer: Right now I’ve really been into Lo Fi Hip Hop to work to. It’s kind of jazzy, there are a lot of samples from old jazz musicians and they tweak them to create some interesting sounds, and then I’m also really into classical rock and bands I grew up with like the Beatles, the Grateful Dead, Pink Floyd .
And also, I normally don’t tell people this, but I have a guilty pleasure… I like to listen to Korean Pop Music or K Pop. My best friend from elementary and middle school was Korean so I’d always be at his house and that’s what him and his sister listened to all the time. So I learned about it back in 1997 and have been listening to it off and on for a long time, but more recently I’ve kind of gotten back into it.
I’m really digging this girl group called Black Pink. They’ve been around for a couple of years but recently put out a new album and their sound is pretty different.. It’s like Korean girl rap trap music. Here’s the link to my favorite video.
Awesome Joshua, thanks for your time!
T O D A Y ‘S T A K E A W A Y S
Takeaway 1: Joshua’s A&R rating is based on track mixing, the melody fitting the genre, the quality of the sounds and plugins, the timing, and if the sounds help to evoke emotion or could help tell a story.
Takeaway 2: It’s essential to find background or production music that matches your creative project in order to complement and enhance its impact!
Takeaway 3: Joshua and the team at AudioMicro are there to help if you need assistance in finding the right sounds for your production project. Just write in Here.
Takeaway 4: AudioMicro promotes a work environment that is friendly, supportive, and honors their employees need to express creativity and take breaks!
Takeaway 5: Joshua secretly loves K-Pop! 😉
We’ll cover all the music licensing types in this article, but will focus on our tried and true- The Standard License for our Royalty Free Music Tracks.
We’re stoked to offer you the most affordable Standard License price in the industry, not to mention our HUGE library of HIGH QUALITY tracks, all for just $34.95 per song. Woot!
So where can you utilize these tracks? Let us count the ways…
The Fine Print :: The Standard License includes the reproduction of up to 1,000 copies of your project in physical, tangible products like CD’s, DVD’s, VHS tapes, Blu-rays, toys, and console games.
So, in sum, the Standard License is all you need, unless of course, you are using the music in the following scenarios. ::
So there are the In’s and Out’s of our Standard License, and all for $34.95!
Quite the steal, wouldn’t you say? And just a reminder that your dollars are supporting the very deserving and talented musicians and artists who spend countless hours providing you with premium sounds!
Now remember, these deets cover our Music Tracks only. Interested in Sound Effects SFX Licenses, click here.
Didn’t cover your intended use? Keep reading for increased coverage.
Here’s a run-down of ALL the MUSIC LICENSE options – depending on your use:
This license is ONLY required if you wish to make over 1,000 physical/tangible reproductions of your product or utilize the music in a paid (i.e. not free) iPhone/iPad/Android/Facebook app, podcasts, software, and/or games where more than 1,000 copies will be downloaded.
Notice: The Standard License allows up to 1,000 downloads of both free and paid software/games as well as unlimited downloads of free (and not allowing in-app purchasing) iPhone/iPad/Android apps, podcasts, softwares, and games. Therefore, you do NOT need to purchase a mass duplication license unless you’re distributing over 1,000 physical/tangible reproductions of videos, softwares, games, toys within media such as CDs, DVDs, VHS tapes and the like OR using the music in paid (i.e. not free) iPhone/iPad/Android apps and podcasts to be downloaded more than 1,000 times.
Mass Reproduction license prices:
This license is ONLY required if you are using the music in an Advertisement run on either Television or Radio.
Television / Radio Advertisement License prices:
This license is ONLY required for commercial film releases and theatre presentations. Utilization of the music in non-commercial, educational, and editorial projects, like student films and contest submissions, is included in the Standard License. Please be sure to credit “Royalty Free Music by AudioMicro” in your project.
Theatrical/Commercial License Price: The Standard License price of $34.95 plus $250 per track
All of our licenses allow you use the music solely in your own projects. You cannot resell the music as a standalone product or create a derivative work that primarily contains just the music and the resell it as your own, such as a meditation CD with your voice running over the music. If you’d like to use the music in such a manner, please contact us for a special license arrangement.
We offer a bonus of 20% on purchases over $500 and in the form of store credit to be used with your next purchase. Simply contact us after you have made your purchase and we’ll place the bonus into your account. We also offer bonuses for verified charities and nonprofits.
So that’s AUDIOMICRO’s Licensing 101 friends.
Let us know if you have any questions, and Go Forward and Create!
~The AudioMicro Team